The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning have been heading in completely different directions since the last time they met.
The Capitals look to continue their recent strong play, while the Lightning try to avoid losing a season-high fifth straight game when the teams meet at the Verizon Center on Tuesday.
When Washington (15-10-7) and Tampa Bay (14-17-2) faced each other on Nov. 28, the Capitals had lost six straight while the Lightning were riding a three-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay outshot Washington 50-20 in that contest, but the Capitals managed to win 5-2, beginning a stretch of seven victories in their last nine games. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has lost eight of its last nine.
"It took that game in Tampa, and maybe we shouldn't have won it by the way we played, but we got the bounces, and that got us right out of our little funk," right wing Chris Clark said after the Capitals' 4-1 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday.
Alexander Semin had two goals and an assist against the Flyers, and Alexander Ovechkin added a goal and two assists. Semin has two goals and two assists in two games against the Lightning this season.
Ovechkin, who has six goals and 10 assists in seven games this month, has seven goals and six assists in 10 career appearances against Tampa Bay.
Olaf Kolzig had 21 saves against Philadelphia to improve to 5-1-1 with a 3.11 goals-against average during the Capitals' run. He made a season-high 48 saves in last month's win over the Lightning, and is 21-10-2 with a 2.51 GAA and one shutout in his career against them.
"We have a good team," Ovechkin said. "Good forward, good D and an unbelievable goalie."
The Capitals lost 6-4 to Tampa Bay on Oct. 21 at the Verizon Center, just their fourth defeat in the last 19 meetings between the teams in Washington.
The Lightning fell 3-2 to Carolina on Saturday, their third one-goal loss during the four-game skid. Tampa Bay has not lost five straight since dropping six in a row from Nov. 1-11, 2005.
"That's the worst thing that we can do right now is be down," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "We have to stay with it. Stay within our team concept. Try and stay positive. We've got to stay strong in that area."
Martin St. Louis scored against the Hurricanes, giving him four goals and seven assists in his last five games. St. Louis leads the Lightning with 20 goals and 43 points, but has just one goal and one assist in his last seven games against Washington.
Tampa Bay's Marc Denis has lost 10 of his last 11 starts after starting the season with a 5-3-0 mark and a 2.21 GAA. He is 2-3-0 with a tie and a 3.64 GAA in his career against the Capitals.
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